OR Tambo International Airport. File picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Johannesburg - The North Gauteng High Court has dismissed an urgent application by a team of enthusiastic young black entrepreneurs who wanted it to order the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) to reopen the Phela-Live Wellness and Fitness Centre at the OR Tambo International Airport after its doors were unceremoniously closed on Friday.

The businessmen, directors of Tswelokgotso Trading Enterprise, which runs the fitness centre, said in court papers that Acsa had unlawfully locked them out on Thursday night as they had not paid the monthly amount due for their lease.

They said they had failed to meet their monthly obligations because Acsa had not paid more than R50 million due to them for work they had done as grass cutting, vegetation control and runway maintenance contractors.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius said the matter was not urgent and struck it off the roll on Saturday.

The closure has jeopardised hundreds of fitness and health enthusiasts’ new year resolutions to keep fit and left more than 40 employees without jobs.

The centre was opened two years ago and was the first of its kind in South Africa. Tswelokgotso spent nearly R8m transforming the former International Trading Bureau building – which had been vacant for nearly eight years and stood within 50 metres of international arrivals – into a state-of-the-art gym and spa.

The centre is the brainchild of Tshepo Mokgoatjana, Mpho Mohale, Samora Mtsi and others and had more than 700 members.

The Sunday Independent